Grants FAQs

Grants FAQs

What kinds of grants are available?

Public Humanities Grants, up to $10,000

To create exciting and engaging public programs that bring communities together to explore the humanities and meaningful issues, and connect to each other. 

Preservation and Access Grants, up to $10,000

To preserve existing resources that are important to a community, and to make them publicly accessible to researchers, students, and the general public.

When are the grant deadlines?

May 31, 2022 5:00pm HST

May 31, 2022 5:00pm HST

What are the humanities?

The humanities help us explore more deeply what it means to be human and what matters to us. We explore our values and histories and philosophies. We challenge each other to pause, listen, and be curious about experiences that are not our own. The humanities help us explore our identities, and build community and connection. They help us remember who we are and where we are going together.

In the academy, the humanities fields of study include, history, philosophy, literary studies, languages and linguistics, film studies, archaeology, ethics, jurisprudence, art criticism and theory, cultural anthropology, sociology, political science, journalism, anthropology, folklore, ethnomusicology, performance studies, and more.

The humanities does not include humanitarian or social service projects.


What makes a strong humanities program?

A strong public humanities project has leadership who helps to shape, deepen, and evaluate the community program. This could be a scholar or archivist or librarian in a humanities field, or a recognized cultural consultant/practitioner. Having leadership on your project by someone recognized among their peers and community will make your grant application more competitive.

A strong public program benefits from a strong outreach and engagement plan and collaboration with community partners. Working closely with community partners will make your application more competitive.

We think of a humanities method as one that reaches for questions more than answers, and helps us think and wonder and explore together. Here are a few humanities questions that inspire our program work at Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities:

  • What do we value, what do we care about, and why do we do what we do—what does it mean to be human?
  • How do we become better listeners, more open to and curious about multiple viewpoints?
  • What does it mean to be grounded in Hawaiʻi’s peoples, stories, and places?
  • What is our kuleana to our communities’ histories and their futures?
  • How do we dive more courageously into important questions and ideas?
  • How can we create space for more diverse voices and experiences?
  • How can we connect in ways that strengthen our communities’ resilience and ability to change?


What makes a strong Preservation & Access Project?

As the Hawai‘i affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are proud to support their values of research and expertise. Hawai‘i’s rich cultural heritage and academic knowledge are held in institutions and spaces, such as libraries, archives, museums, and community resource centers to name a few examples. Preservation & Access Projects should be anchored in the preservation of existing collections that could be comprised of works on paper, recordings, still and moving images, works of art, objects of material culture, and digital collections. These are a few examples of the kinds of collections this grant is designed to support. A Preservation & Access Project must also provide access to these preserved collections through the widest means possible by the organization or institution to researchers, students, and the general public.


What kinds of projects and formats are eligible for a Public Humanities or Preservation & Access grant?

We encourage originality and imagination in your public program plans. Please note that while grant funds can be used as to help create a resource, a good portion of the grant should be used for public programs that broaden perspectives, enrich lives and strengthen communities.

Examples of activities and formats include:
  • Organizing a panel and facilitated community discussion about challenging and relevant issues;
  • Developing thought-provoking community engagement for exhibitions, publications, films, or performances
  • Creating humanities guides or essays or other materials to complement a program and that provide access to expertise and deeper questions on the issue; 
  • Creating and launching media—film, podcasts, sound recordings, and online media;
  • Designing a collaboration between humanities and science communities that helps to more deeply explore a challenging and relevant issue
  • Community meetings, workshops, symposia, and similar gatherings for non-academic audiences;
  • Creating an interpretive exhibit that helps us dive more deeply into historical and contemporary issues 
  • Developing a guided tour of a historic site 
  • Developing a historical theater performance
  • Research in the humanities and presentation of results to the community;
  • Preserving an important cultural resource in a way that increases public access to the materials (e.g. creating an online archive or a database). 
  • For more examples, you can see a few of our past grantee projects HERE.


What kinds of programs are NOT ELIGIBLE for funding?
  • Projects characterized by political or religious advocacy or bias (e.g., political campaigning, advocacy events that promote a single point-of-view, lobbying, etc.)
  • Direct service providing (e.g., social, psychological legal, or health services, training or counseling programs)
  • Fellowships or scholarships
  • Academic or professional conferences for a non-public audience
  • College courses and seminars
  • Building, restoration and preservation capital projects
  • Purchase of land or capital equipment
  • Operational support and clearinghouse activities
  • Fundraisers or events for profit
  • Art activities or performances when these are ends in themselves, without examination of their social, historical, or aesthetic context
  • Social and human service programs


Where does HIHumanities Grants funding come from?

All Public Humanities and Preservation & Access Grants awarded by Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities are federal subawards from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. We acknowledge and thank the NEH for supporting the important work of caring for culture, history, civic connection, and the unique ways public humanities enrich our lives in Hawai’i.

Who may apply for Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities Grants?

Grant applications require a sponsoring nonprofit group or public institution based in Hawaiʻi. 


Who decides what projects get funded? 

Ours is a competitive grant award process. A committee of HIHumanities Board members—with expertise in the humanities and diverse connections to multiple islands—discusses and ranks all applications within a review period, and makes a recommendation to the full Board for review and final approval. Full Board meetings are normally held in March, July, and December of every year.

What kinds of requirements are part of my application process?

Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and System for Award Management (SAM)
Because our grants are federal in origin, your organization is required to be registered in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management (SAM), and its annual renewal is up to date. Once you are registered, you will receive a Unique Entity Identifier 12-alpha-numeric identifier (UEI). The UEI is required in your grant application. To register in SAM and to obtain a UEI: https://www.sam.gov/SAM/
Please note: If you are new to SAM, processing takes ten days to activate. Your organization may already be registered in the SAM system and have a UEI. Your executive administrators should know about your organization’s SAM account and whether it has been annually reregistered, and the UEI is still active. More information about the UEI (SAM) transition: https://sam.gov/content/duns-uei. Please be advised: Even though grants are a type of contract, when registering with SAM, your organization is applying for “financial assistance” rather than registering as a contractor.

For our Public Humanities Grants—Humanities Leader
A strong humanities project should include project personnel that provides guidance, rigor, and analysis, to develop a public program with depth, context, and complexity (i.e., multiple perspectives, connection to larger history, etc.). The Project Director can also be the Humanities Leadership. At least one Humanities Leadership name and a letter of commitment explaining their support, role, and commitment is required.

For our Preservation & Access Grants—Librarian or Archivist Leader
A strong project includes project personnel that can provide professional guidance, rigor, and analysis, and apply archival preservation standards and develop universal access using humanities indexing and cataloguing methods.   At least one Librarian or Archivist Leadership name and a letter of commitment explaining their support, role, and commitment is required.

What kind of support can I get for creating my application?

Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities dedicates a staff member to supporting our grantees. Ours is a competitive grant award process. If you are interested in a consultation about applying for a grant, or to review your application, we encourage you to contact Director of Community Grants Stacy Hoshino at shoshino@hihumanities.org, (808) 469-4551, no later than two weeks before the grant application deadline.